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Valley Vision Study Shows High Quality Of Life, Underlying Tensions In Sacramento Valley

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

People like living in the Sacramento Valley, but they have concerns about the lack of affordable housing, growing homelessness and issues of safety.

A new study from Valley Vision and Sacramento State's Institute for Social Research shows respondents rate the quality of life quite high here but also uncovered some underlying tensions.

Valley Vision CEO Bill Mueller and researcher Evan Schmidt explained to CapRadio's Randol White what they found in the survey and how it might be used by city leaders in the future. Here are highlights from their conversation.

Interview Highlights

On the even split between people who want more housing built in the Sacramento region and those who do not

This is probably one of the foundational concerns that we have is that, on the one hand, this survey shows that building affordable housing is one of the most important priorities that the survey uncovered, that residents really want affordable housing and they need it. They expect government to help us build it and provide it. Together with our building in the private sector markets.

Yet, at the same time, we're at a bit of a crossroads. Whether or not we want to see more houses built or whether we just want to sort of keep the Greater Sacramento area the same.

And so it literally came down to 49-51 — as even a split as you could possibly imagine between those that want to embrace the boom that's happening in the Greater Sacramento area and those that want to keep things the same. So it's a bit of a conundrum and frankly it's an area that we want to explore further with experts in housing and in government and within the community to unlock the findings more, so that we can sort of find a path forward.

On how people rated the quality of life in the Sacramento region

Nearly 80 percent of respondents in the Sacramento region report that they're satisfied with their quality of life. And what's amazing in that is that if you've been in the Sacramento region for 15 or 20 years, we've had a confidence problem. Sometimes we haven't sort of really embraced the fact that we love the greater Sacramento area, that we love the universities, we love the trees, the river, recreational assets that that we have, places like the Crocker or the downtown sports arena, and that it's easy to come and go. We really haven't embraced that. But what this study shows, is that we've overcome that confidence problem.

But here's the challenge: when the community begins to take more pride in ownership, they're also willing to look at some of the things that aren't quite right.

On surprising themes that emerged in the report

One thing that's been really consistent throughout all our polls is people's love of nature, parks, trails in the region — that was strong in this survey. It's been strong in other surveys as well. I think the strength to which people had strong feelings about homelessness, affordable housing and rent — that came out very strongly as well.

This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity. Click the “play” button to listen to the entire segment.

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